Appalachian Geology and Environmental Science merger

The Department of Geology absorbed the Environmental Science Program in early 2017. The new name is the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences. You can also stay up to date with us via Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!

What should I major in?

"Isn't geology just about rocks?"

"I want to study environmental science but I hate math and science!"

Many students come into our program a bit confused as to what the geosciences and environmental sciences actually are.  Click here for a detailed explanation between the different degree tracks within the geosciences and environmental sciences here at Appalachian. This page will help guide you to the degree track that is right for you - either in this department or in a different department.

Ask A Geologist

Got a geologic question you need answered? Ask A Geologist!

Did you find something that puzzled you in your backyard or on top of a mountain? Have questions about local environmental problems? Want to know about what's going on in Boone Creek, the Watauga River, and the New River? Concerned about fracking in your region? Do you have a mineral that you can't identify? Think you found a meteorite? We will do our best to answer any geological/environmental question. We also have pages that answer some of our most frequently asked questions.

What's so special about our department?

About Our Programs

The Appalachian State University Geological and Environmental Sciences Department provides students with a solid foundation on which to build a successful career in the geosciences and environmental sciences. We are the largest undergraduate geosciences department in the UNC system, and we have been successful in establishing a program that is arguably among the best Bachelor degree programs in geology available in the southeastern United States. 

The Geology program offers both a BA and BS in Geology, with the option of concentrations in:

Our program also offers a BS in Environmental Sciences, with the option of concentrating in Environmental Policy.

See our What should I major in? page to determine if our programs are right for you!

If you're not yet sure you want to major in Geology or Environmental Science, take some of our many General Education classes - learn about water resources, dinosaurs, oceanography, natural disasters, energy resources, fossils, and of course... rocks.  According to Slate, "Introductory Geology classes are the best science electives" and we certainly agree!

We study more than just rocks.

Geology is about more than just rocks.

Environmental Science is about more than just ecology, policy, or regulations.

What is Geology?

Our faculty have expertise in all fields of the Earth and Environmental sciences.

Click on our each of our research programs below to see what we do!


What processes affect water supply and quality?

researchers in river

Hydrology and Environmental Geology Research Group:


What do fossils tell us?

bone microscopy image

Paleontology Research Group:


What do landforms tell us? How do humans influence landscapes?

Surface processes

Surface Processes Research Group


What do the minerals in rocks tell us? What is the role they play in the environment?

mineral microscopy image

Mineralogy, Petrology, and Geochemistry Research Group:


How is Earth's climate recorded in minerals, rocks, sediment, water, and ice? How has climate changed through time?

Records of Climate Change

Records of Climate Change Research Group:


Latest News

Dr. Cynthia Liutkus-Pierce named a Fellow of the Explorers Club

From the Wilkes Journal-Patriot: "Children sometimes flip through National Geographic magazines just to look at the photos, but not Dr. Cynthia Liutku...

Ordovician life just needed a breath of fresh air… or oxygen rather

The three-fold diversification of marine life during the Ordovician (485–444 million years ago) appears to have been fueled by a major increase in a...

Congratulations to Anthony Love and Dr. Cynthia Liutkus-Pierce for their awards!

 Dr. Cynthia Liutkus-Pierce has won both the Jimmy Smith Outstanding Service Award and the Teacher of the Year Award in the College of ...

There's a new SEM in town...

Drs. Sarah Carmichael, Gabriele Casale, Jamie Levine, and Ellen Cowan from Geological and Environmental Sciences and Dr. Guichuan Hou from Biology wer...

Congratulations to Dr. Cynthia Liutkus-Pierce for her Board of Governors Teaching Award!

 Dr. Cynthia Liutkus-Pierce was recently honored for her fabulous teaching through an NC Board of Governor's Teaching Award.  Congratulation...

News from the field: Dr. Cynthia Liutkus-Pierce interviewed in Tanzania

When the active Oldoinyo Lengai volcano showed suspicious activity indicating that an eruption was imminent, Dr. Cynthia Liutkus-Pierce was on the gro...